Kingfield bed and breakfast owner Lisa Standish said when she first heard the new brand for the high peaks region, she was not sure how she felt about it.
Maine High Peaks: Discover an Elevated Sense of Living.
But after mulling it over, Standish said she decided the brand was a good fit for the region.
“I was just discussing it with my friend at lunch … when all of a sudden it just settled on me that this is so good,” she said by phone from the Mountain Village Farm Bed and Breakfast.
In February, community and business leaders from the region met with a New York consultant to brand the area. The idea of branding the high peaks region — the mountains in northern Franklin County — had been discussed for years, but leaders took the first official steps when they hired destination branding consultant Jim Cox earlier this year.
Cox was hired by the Network of Networks, made of volunteer representatives from greater Franklin County organizations.
On March 28, Cox boiled down their brainstorming to the tagline, which is the concept the collaborators said they will market under and make decisions based on.
The goal of branding is to improve the economic condition of the area by retaining residents, encourage more people to move there and attract tourists.
Cynthia Orcutt, co-owner of the Schoolhouse Gallery in Kingfield, said the brand is a reflection of residents of the region and how they describe themselves.
“Basically all of us are living the brand,” she said. “You don’t want to make something up. You want the brand to be who you are.”
She said about 30 people, representing a range of fields from health care to business to arts, attended the most recent session on the topic.
The group plans to reconvene April 22 for the final step in the process, where Cox will present the visual library, including a logo, graphics and typeface for implementing the brand.
Cox, at a previous session, said it’s important to distinguish from a logo and a brand. A brand is not a logo, he said, but the overall marketing strategy often includes one.
Orcutt said the brand came from feedback the community members gave on how the outdoors made them feel and what they felt was the region’s draw to the outside world.
“We said the natural world defines us. The word â€˜authentic’ kept coming up. People who are seeking to come here are the same,” she said.
In a press release about the brand, Cox said the Maine High Peaks region “offers an inspirational and authentic experience, based on surprisingly personal and natural adventures.”
The release stated residents can get involved in the ongoing process of branding the region by following guidelines to be laid out at the April 22 meeting to “create relationships with visitors who come to the region so they will want to come back again, and tell others about what a great place it is to spend a vacation, or to start or relocate a business.”
Standish said while she was not able to attend the previous branding session, she is eager to learn how to use the brand in marketing her business.
“I want to learn how to incorporate it in to my own marketing language. It puts me under this larger umbrella. I think its a great way to create a larger community,” she said.
She said the “elevated” brand will work well, because it’s marketing traits the region already has and not trying to exaggerate or create something new to advertise.
“You have to be authentic,” she said. “You can’t say something that isn’t real.”
Kaitlin Schroeder — 861-9252 firstname.lastname@example.org